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FLUID EXISTENTIAL INVERSIONS

Intronaut

Experimental/Post Metal


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4 stars Intronaut are known for employing the following formula: interject sludgy riffage with jammy, psychedelic passages. On "Fluid Existential Inversions" Intronaut perfects this formula. The riffs are standard Intronaut fair but they are given an extra measure of complexity thanks to a stellar drum performance. The psychedelic and jazzy passages are, at times, unspeakably beautiful. The lack of strong melody is, for me, a downside but perfectly understandable given Intronaut's emphasis on generating atmosphere.

This is an album that feels like it has an important message to relay though, at this stage, I'm not quite sure what that message is. If you are already an Intronaut fan, you will obviously love this album. If you are into challenging but ultimately inspiring music, you owe it to yourself to give this record a listen.

Report this review (#2339977)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Since the dawn of the post-metal / atmospheric sludge metal combo pack style that Neurosis delivered with its phenomenally original 'Souls At Zero' all the way back in 1992, the two closely and often overlapping styles of metal have really covered it all having cross-pollinated with black metal, folk metal, drone metal and beyond but there have been a lot of copycats out there as well. For every Isis there are 10 Pelican sounding bands but even in the fast riding populated style of music that really took off in the 2000s some bands managed to craft a sound that stood on its own. INTRONAUT is one such band that immediately caught the attention of the metal world with its debut album 'Void' and has pretty much continued to crank out a series of strong original albums ever since.

While this LA based band has been fairly consistent in delivering a new release every two to three years, it's been five long ones since the release of 'The Direction Of Last Things' and finally in 2020 makes a comeback with the band's sixth overall full-length studio release FLUID EXISTENTIAL INVERSIONS and with a moniker that connotes a mental inner journey into the vast metaphysical universe that lies within, this album title continues the nebulous mental quandaries of the reality we find ourselves existing in and cranks out nine tracks of the band's impressive progressive and even jazzy fusion mixes of crunchy sludge metal magic with atmospheric post-rock meanderings with psychedelic extras.

One of the most substantial changes between the half decade absence of the great INTRONAUT is the departure of long time drummer Danny Walker who left the band in 2018 but the great news is that he was replaced by a seasoned tech metal type named Alex Rudinger who has played with a large number of metal bands including Azrael, Burning Shadows, Conquering Dystopia, The Faceless, Good Tiger, The HAARP Machine, Ordinance, Samadhi and Threat Signal. While technically just a session musician, his drumming prowess amplifies INTRONAUT's strengths and keeps these guys firmly placed in the big boy's world of progressive sludge metal while other bands like Mastodon and Baroness seem to be wimping out and aiming for more crossover appeal. INTRONAUT continues to stand proud in its time signature rich stamped of sludgy riffs and psychedelic atmospheric excursions.

The beauty of INTRONAUT is that while keeping the same basic stylistic approach that started from the beginning, this band manages to keep quality control with every album just different enough from what came before and in the process manages to consistently deliver an excellent album's worth of progressive sludgy post-metal with psychedelic accoutrements. FLUID EXISTENTIAL INVERSIONS is no exception to this rule. In many ways, this album is like a synopsis of the band's entire run. Not only does it include some of the heavier growly vocal fueled sludge attacks as heard on 'Void' but also delivers a fair amount of clean vocal led atmospheric post-metal sounds that peaked on 'Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones).' Add in an amazingly crisp clean production that captures the perfect essential oils of both the metallic fury and clean passages and you have a freekin winner of an album.

Personally i think INTRONAUT probably peaked with its sophomore album 'Prehistorians' which captured its sound in perfect balance but despite that fact the band has been very consistent in crafting really complex yet compelling albums ever since and that certainly has not ended with FLUID EXISTENTIAL INVERSIONS. While i would prefer that the band venture into more explorations beyond their comfort zone, i'm quite aware that they are walking that tightrope act of pleasing the old fans while trying to attract the new and for that effort i have to say that this album is the perfect mix of what has come before even if no new elements have been added other than the tight-knit instrumental interplay that includes the new drummer. While this album may not expand on the band's previous stylistic approach in any way, for true fans this will not disappoint one little bit. This is another strong INTRONAUT album that delivers the goods.

Report this review (#2340024)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars I really enjoy Intronaut's blend of heavy progressive metal with jazzy interludes, and Fluid Existential Inversions may just be their best album to date. They have produced a lot of consistency over the years to the point that every album is very good. Fluid Existential Inversions has the most diversity of any of their albums, and features a healthy dose of jazzy progressions. It can also be heavy at times featuring some of the groups best compositions. The heart of the album with Cubensis, The Cull, and Contrapasso is just outstanding. Sour Everythings ends the album with a strong finish, and there are no filler tracks of any kind. The musicianship is top notch, and the compositions are an adventure worth exploring. Anyone that enjoys heavier bands should definitely put Intronaut on their radar. There is so much great music here, and while I am new to the band, I look forward to their future releases.
Report this review (#2442195)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2020 | Review Permalink

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